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Diel timing of nest predation changes across season in a subtropical shorebird
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  • Martin Sládeček,
  • Kateřina Brynychová,
  • Esmat Elhassan,
  • Miroslav Salek,
  • Veronika Janatová,
  • Eva Vozabulová,
  • Petr Chajma,
  • Veronika Firlová,
  • Lucie Pešková,
  • Aisha Almuhery,
  • Martin Bulla
Martin Sládeček
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Kateřina Brynychová
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Esmat Elhassan
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Miroslav Salek
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Veronika Janatová
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Eva Vozabulová
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Petr Chajma
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Veronika Firlová
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Lucie Pešková
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Aisha Almuhery
Dubai Municipality
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Martin Bulla
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague Faculty of Environmental Sciences
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Abstract

Predation is the most common cause of nest failure in birds. While nest predation is relatively well studied in general, our knowledge is unevenly distributed across globe and taxa, with for example limited information on shorebirds breeding in sub-tropics. Importantly, we know fairly little about the timing of predation within a day and season. Here, we followed 499 nests of red-wattled lapwings (Vanellus indicus), a ground-nesting shorebird, to estimate a nest predation rate, and continuously monitored 231 of these nests for a sum of 2951 days to reveal how timing of predation changes over the day and season in a sub-tropical desert. We found that 324 nests hatched, 77 nests were predated, 38 failed for other reasons and 60 had unknown fate. Daily predation rate was 0.97% (95%CrI: 0.77% – 1.2%), which for a 30-day long incubation period translates into ~25% chance of nest being predated. Such predation rate is low compared to most other species. Predation events were distributed evenly across day and night, with a tendency for increased predation around sunrise. Predation rate and events were distributed evenly also across the season, although night predation was more common later in the season, perhaps because predators reduce their activity during daylight to avoid extreme heat. Indeed, nests were never predated upon when mid-day ground temperatures exceeded 45°C. Whether the activity pattern of predators indeed changes across the breeding season and whether the described predation patterns hold for other populations, species and geographical regions awaits future investigations.